Online Learning and Teamwork: Keys to SLIS Success


Virtual learning fits me.  I do not, however, discount the reflections from SLIS students that forewarn of the copious readings required for online classes.  Moreover, the lack of “human” communication online – the misunderstandings, hurt feelings, or competing agendas that may result from delayed/asynchronous feedback or missing physical cues like body language and tone of voice – is somewhat worrying to me.

The Working in Teams presentation by SLIS colloquium speaker Dr. Ken Haycock, analyzes the progressive stages of online teamwork; the Storming Stage includes misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and competing agendas as mentioned above.  Dr. Haycock teaches that a team leader and team members must progress through the Storming Stage, and through each of three other stages, in order to produce a winning product.  I will remember to apply these stages to SLIS teamwork:

  1. Forming Stage – establish ground rules and team roles
  2. Storming Stage – bear unavoidable conflict, blame, and disillusionment
  3. Norming Stage – overcome the Storming Stage with positive behaviors and constructive criticisms
  4. Performing Stage – produce the final product

The Monster Inside Library School: Student Teams is an apt presentation by Enid Irwin.  At the beginning of the presentation, Enid suggests that our careers begin when we start our first SLIS class.  Our studies – and predominantly, our teamwork – will prepare us for the rest of our professional lives!


One comment

  1. Robin

    I haven’t seen these lectures yet, but I have heard of those four stages from a friend who worked on conflict resolution in Kosovo. Interesting to know the same techniques can apply, regardless of the scale of the problem.

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